Garcia creates Cebu task force on novel coronavirus threat
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has created a task force to protect against the threat of the deadly novel coronavirus, which has spread from China to several other nations.
Garcia also said on Monday, January 27, that she would sign an executive order (EO) on preventive measures against the virus which, in a matter of weeks, has killed more than 100 people and infected some 2,740 in China, while cases have been identified in more than a dozen other countries.
She said that the EO would be similar to those the provincial government had issued to address African swine fever, and details would be announced after the task force holds its first meeting on Thursday, January 30.
Garcia met with government and sectoral representatives, including those from the Department of Health (DOH), the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the Bureau of Quarantine, the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), and major Cebu hospitals.
"From their inputs, we are now looking at a direction that we shall be taking. I shall not yet disclose for now. It will be premature. I also need the inputs from the Bureau of Immigration, and the Association of Travel Operators. I shall also be calling in the Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police," she said.
"We wish that we can strengthen the preventive aspect rather than the curative," the govenrment added.
Garcia said will would meet with Chinese embassy officials ahead of the task force meeting.
Thermal scanners are in place at the MCIA to check passengers' body temperature. Garcia said she ordered the CPA to make emergency purchases of thermal guns as well.
The governor also pointed out that hotels have been checking on their clients' temperatures too.
In the meantime, DOH-7 Regional Director Dr Jaime Bernadas said there were 8 patients in Central Visayas with flu-like symptoms, and that these patients had gone to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Among them is the mother of the 5-year-old patient who tested negative for the virus strain.
Bernadas said the patients had recovered well and had hurdled the 14-day incubation period. – Rappler.com